Unasked-for thoughts on France

(Pre-script: I am writing this from the point of view that the internet doesn’t need another rehashing of events or even another think-piece on the how or why of these events. There are no suggested answers or easy solutions in this post, and very little in the way of calls to action. These are just thoughts and maybe some discussion starters for your home.)

I will be very honest and say my only connection to France has been through music and food. I have not always enjoyed the culture or history of France outside of the beautiful music and delicious cuisine I have encountered over the years. I speak little to none of the language, but have sung several gorgeous songs in French, enjoying the combination of the melody with the smoothness of the language.

In light of recent events, though, a new connection was formed, one of solidarity in the face of a terrible attack on innocents. It is difficult to grapple with a reality where these sort of atrocities happen – where people who were minding their own business, living their lives become numbers on a screen counting bodies. Many Americans remember the weeks following 9/11 where that number kept climbing steadily as more wreckage was sifted… The grief of those families and friends, and the ones currently feeling that loss, is impossible to describe with words or pictures and will be felt for years to come. May God grant them peace and comfort in this dark moment.

The way we discuss these tragedies with our kids is important. Yes, we want to shield our children from the evil of the world for as long as possible, but we need to start the discussion somewhere. We live in a broken world full of broken people that God is putting back together. Because the way we treat one another is broken, sometimes broken people hurt other broken people. As Christians, we’re working alongside God to help put things back together. We know that eventually God will put everything back the way it’s supposed to be, but right now, we’re waiting on that.

Already I have seen several posts angrily calling for violent retribution on entire groups of people. I have seen hateful comments popping up on Facebook.

Yes, a solution should be found, but maybe, just maybe we should take the time to grieve. Instead of instinctively lashing out in anger and fear, perhaps we should allow ourselves the chance to hurt, to cry, to mourn with those who mourn before throwing ourselves headlong into decisions and actions and words we can’t take back.

It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to mourn. It’s ok to be angry.

So, with our hearts heavy, may we continue to pray for God’s mighty hand to put everything to rights. May we continue to pray for peace and comfort for the French people, and specifically those who lost loved ones.

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